Black and white photograph of former U.S. Attorney General A. Mitchell Palmer with hands in pockets.

A. Mitchell Palmer

(1872 - 1936)

A. Mitchell Palmer received an appropriation from Congress in June 1919 investigate “ultraradicals” in America. Less than two months later, in order to firm up information regarding potential threats, he created the General Intelligence Division in the Justice Department. He appointed twenty-four-year-old J. Edgar Hoover to head it. Palmer’s first raids, during which suspected radicals were arrested, questioned, and sometimes beaten, took place in twelve cities across the country on November 7, the second anniversary of the Russian Revolution. 

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